According to a new survey, 92% of the population of Ireland now say they support remaining in the EU. Only 7% said that they would support following Britain and leaving the union, while 1% of respondents said that they didn’t know. Ireland has been at the centre of brexit negotiations this year, and there’s still a great deal of uncertainty over the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
If Theresa May chooses to opt for a “hard brexit” and leave the single market, it’s likely that a border will need to be introduced between the two, which both sides have said they want to avoid due to the Good Friday Agreement.
Last year, Nigel Farage expressed his opinion on Ireland’s EU membership, stating that: “Maybe the best thing for Ireland given that she’s stuck in the wrong currency, given that nearly all of her overseas business is denominated in dollars or sterling, maybe the Irish should leave the EU and then we could then work out our own terms between us. He added that such a solution was one that “Irish politicians and bureaucrats and media types and experts couldn’t possibly contemplate”
However, despite the uncertainty over the future of the Irish border, the vast majority of the Irish public still support remaining in the union. The country has historically been pro-EU, although support fell slightly during the 2013 austerity cuts, and reached its lowest level at 81%.
This rose to 88% last year, and the survey has shown that it’s now reached over 90% in the majority of age groups. An estimated 97% of 18-24 year olds are in favour of staying in the EU; the lowest support is in the 45-64 age bracket – although it’s still high at 88%.
Of the respondents, 87% also agreed that the Irish public have benefitted, and continue to benefit from their EU membership. When asked about whether Ireland should contribute more towards the EU budget or join the EU defence and security union the support was slightly lower.
Noelle O’Connell, executive director of European Movement Ireland, which commissioned the poll, said: “People are very clear that leaving the EU would not be in Ireland’s interests. However, there is understandable uncertainty about what changes Brexit will bring to Ireland, the border and the Ireland-UK trade relationship in the long term.Contrary to recent claims, at 92 per cent support for Ireland’s membership of the EU remains strong; in fact it is at an all-time high since we first undertook this poll in 2013.”
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